Entrepreneur: Mike Hirshland
Business founded: resolute.VC
After spending the early part of his career as a U.S. Supreme Justice clerk, Mike Hirshland moved into the venture capitalist world, working as an investor at Polaris Venture Partners. Recently, he founded resolute.vc, a seed-stage venture capital firm. Below is his advice to students looking to start their own businesses.
Follow your passion: It’s never too late to do what you want to do. You’re never stuck in a track. I think the people who are the most successful are the people who have a passion and are able to purse that passion for a job.
Remember it’s in your hands. I always had a job — resolute.vc was my chance to start my own thing. That has been by far the most fun and rewarding part of the journey.
The person matters. I put a ton of stock in the founder or founders when they’re pitching an idea to me: What’s special about them? What have they started in the past? What makes this person different than the others?
Be willing to change. Sometimes the original idea ends up not being that good — but it leads to a better idea, which is very, very good. Like Twitter.
Steps for a successful pitch:
- Talk about your past success — or if you’re young, your passions.
- Next, talk about the problem you’re addressing and how your product idea addresses that problem.
- Then, talk about why this is a widespread problem. Why is it, that if you succeed, this could be something substantial and not just a pet project. There’s a lot of people who come up with an idea — and it’s a really cool idea — but when you step back and think about, it doesn’t make sense long-term.
- Finally, talk about how you’re going to make money. Put together a projection and an optimistic scenario.
- Read more tips on how to layout a pitch from Mike Hirshland.
More in our guide for young entrepreneurs: